All posts by reneeinnd

The Vasa Syndrome

Header photo credit: Peter Isotalo  A 1:10 scale model of Vasa’s  elaborately decorated stern.  

On August 10, 1628, The Vasa, a brand new war ship commissioned by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, set off on its maiden voyage from Stockholm. It got about a mile  into the harbor when a mild gust of wind tipped it over and sank it, killing about 30 sailors. It wasn’t salvaged until 1961. Quite a bit of the remains of the ship and much of its fittings and cargo are on display in a very popular museum in Stockholm.

The Vasa Syndrome is a term used today to describe modern institutional or business failure due to poor communication, unrealistic  goal setting, and lack of adaptability by management. Gustavus was off fighting a war in Germany and Poland, but kept making changes to the design of the ship, insisting, for example, that there be 84 bronze cannons when the ship could only hold 36. He wanted it built quickly, with elaborate decorations and carvings that showed off his grandeur and greatness on its multiple decks, the height of  which made it unstable in the water.  It was tested for stability in the water and failed the test, but was allowed to sail anyway.  It ended in disaster.  It seems things never change.

What are your experiences with the Vasa Syndrome? Got any good stories about boats?

The House of Orange

Husband informed me this week that the reason carrots are orange is a result of selective plant breeding in the 17th century as a tribute by Dutch gardeners to William of Orange.  Prior to this they were purple, white, and yellow.  This was a real surprise to me, as I assumed such activity  was a phenomenon of the 20th century.  What a wonderful thing to know!

What new things have you learned lately?  What would you change the color of, if you could? Got any good carrot recipes? 

How’s That Again?

The most informative sections of our local newspaper are the District Court record and the obituaries. When you live in a small community  it is important  to know who died and who got convicted of what.

Yesterday I was hastily scanning an obituary of an 86 year old farm wife from a tiny village south of our town when I ran across this sentence: “Lorraine loved doing the polka with Christ.”  That sure stopped me in my reading! What a wonderful image!  I never knew Jesus did the polka. I wondered if he did the Fox Trot and the Lindy, too.  More careful scrutiny of the obituary reveled that her husband’s name was Christ, as in Christoph,  and it was he with whom she loved to polka.   I was sort of disappointed,  but it sure brightened my day.

When have you misread  or misheard something? What are some funny misprints you have read lately.  What is your experience with the polka?

 

 

 

Frozen Treats

I have always loved popsicles.  I ate so many as a small child that I got lots of cavities in my teeth. My early favorites were the blue raspberry ones. Ice cream bars were never a favorite,  not until I spent a month in the summer after Grade 11 in Saltillo, Mexico studying Spanish. It was hot there in July, and I discovered a world of wonderful frozen confections. My favorite were strawberry ice cream bars with a ripe strawberry at the base. I looked for them in vain in the grocery store back home, but never found them again. I stopped eating popsickles and ice cream bars over the years.   My frozen treat consumption had dwindled to mainly bowls of vanilla  ice cream.

Just the other day I was wheeling my cart past the frozen treat section at Walmart when I spied some interesting looking frozen treats with a lot of Spanish words on the boxes. I bought some ice cream ones and some fruity ones that had the slightest hint of hot chili. They were all wonderful, and the strawberry  ones were very much like the Saltillo strawberry bars. I am in Heaven!

What were your favorite summer treats as a child? What do you like now?

 

Staying Home

Perhaps I’m odd. Perhaps my early years as an only child enhanced my ability to entertain myself. Perhaps I have forgotten what it was like to be young.  I just can’t understand why people are having such a hard time staying at home.

I see in my Facebook feed challenges to live for  a couple of months off the grid in a remote cabin, and winning a bunch of money. Heck, we have all sorts of entertainment in our living spaces, yet people continue to crowd into bars and large parties.

My  question for the Baboons today is:

Why is it so hard to stay home?  What would you include in a tutorial that would help people stay put?  How would you manage in a remote cabin off the grid for a couple of months?

Identifying Marks

Daughter told me that when she was at a farmers market in Tacoma last Saturday, she ran into another graduate of Concordia  College.  (I and both our children graduated from there). I asked her if she knew the person. Daughter said no, but the woman recognized her Concordia ring and identified her as a Cobber. As you can see from the header photo, it is a pretty plain ring and not all that easy to spot on someone else’s hand.

The College magazine is full of stories of Cobbers encountering  other Cobbers in odd places, always identifying each other by their rings. “Marlys Swensrud (’64) was surprized to meet up with Lars Lindstrom (’88) on a bird watching trip in Cyprus last August”.  You would think all we alums do is stare at people’s hands hoping to find a fellow graduate.  It isn’t even that the ring tells much about what sort of people we are, only that we have a shared experience of a certain place.  I think that if I wanted to let people know about me by wearing something symbolic, it would be small ceramic pins in the shape of a pie or a garden hoe, or perhaps a Welsh Terrier.

What symbol would you wear to let people know about you?  What do you think are some symbols that could identify us as Baboons?

Does It Hurt and Have A Temperature?

Today’s post comes from Wessew.

That is line from a 1963 Bayer Children’s aspirin commercial. The little boy makes an inquiry of his playmate’s health and receives reassurance from her mother that things will be fine. His delightful response? “Mothers are like that. Yeah, they are.”

With the C-19 pandemic, many of us have heard similar screening questions. “Pain? Temperature?”

My construction work at medical facilities requires a negative response to gain entrance into the building. I’m quite sure that over these past months that I’ve had my temperature taken a hundred times and it has consistently been 97.5. This is a surprise, as I recollect normal body temperature being 98.6 or did Keith mis-inform me with the lyric in his 1967 song:

“Hey, 98.6, it’s good to have you back again! Oh, hey, 98.6, her lovin’ is the medicine that saved me! Oh, I love my baby!”

Somehow “Hey 97.5” doesn’t work as a lyric.

 

Do you have a favorite fever song?

A Different Point of View

I thought about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on our recent trip to Brookings, SD, as we drove through Edgely, ND and Aberdeen, SD on our way.  Frank Baum lived in Aberdeen around the time he wrote the book, and the girl he used as a model for Dorothy was his niece who lived on a god forsaken farm near Edgely.  (That girl’s daughter became the first woman senator from ND). The area is pretty swampy and remote, in the James River Valley, close to the Red River Valley, but without the good soil. I confess I never read Baum’s  book, but I really liked Wicked, which was the story told from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I liked Jane Eyre as a teen, but I really liked Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which is the story told from the point of view of the first Mrs. Rochester.

I suppose one could argue that writing a story from the point of view of another character from an established novel or story is an easy way to make a buck, but I think it is so interesting  to consider. I also don’t know how they figure out copyright and royalty issues, but it must be doable.

What novel or story would you like to see written from another character’s point of view? What novel or story would you like to see written from the point of view of a character from a completely different novel or story?

Plants on the Move

Ligularia, or “The Rocket”, is one of my favorite shade plants.  We have several in our yard, and I like to pair them with Hydrangeas.  They can be somewhat alarming when it is hot, as they droop in the day, but then they perk right up again after it cools in the evening. They come in different heights and leaf colors. I like the large ones with big green leaves.

I am an impatient gardener, and I plant things too close. I seem to forget just how big Hydrangeas get, and that they will muscle out anything next to them if it isn’t far enough away. This happened recently on the north side of the garage. I had planted Ligularia too close to the Hydrangeas, and the they became completely covered.  Ligularia can become quite large, as you can see in the header photo.  The ones in the north bed were puny, so last Saturday I decided to transplant them to a more open space in the fern bed. It is shady and they can predominate over the ferns. I was amazed to see how resourceful the Ligularia were, and that they had actually migrated from the middle of the Hydrangea bed to the very edge of it, as though to escape the larger shrubs. I initially planted them in a straight line with the Hydrangeas, and here they had moved at least a foot north to the edge of the bed. It is as though they tried to transplant themselves.

We have become more strategic landscapers in the past few years,  but our tendency is to plant where there is  room and to fill in empty spaces somewhat willy nilly. I suppose that is why we end up transplanting things a lot.

What is your landscaping strategy?  What have been your successful and not so successful outcomes?

 

Chaos

Monday will be a day of reckoning at my work place. It is the day we move to our new building.  There are approximately 80 offices that need to be emptied and moved to the new building.  Over 300 boxes of patient records will be moved.  All the omens predict chaos.

The renovations at the new building are not complete. There still is no internet. Some offices don’t have electricity yet. The  new office and waiting room furniture will arrive on Monday just as the moving company will be moving in all our computers, boxes, filing cabinets, supplies, and everything else we are taking with us.  It will take all week for the new furniture to be installed. The cardboard boxes that we were provided with from Walmart are reluctant to let tape adhere, so I foresee bottoms crashing out of boxes as they are moved. Somehow, in the midst of this, we have to attend to our crisis and emergency clients, and see clients via telehealth from our homes.

I am responsible for four offices, including two offices in which we give people tests, my play therapy room, and my personal office. I filled 45 rather large boxes with books, test manuals, toys, office supplies, paper tests and test kits, four computers and their monitors, and our telephones for each office.  I also had to label each piece of furniture with the  number of the new offices to which they are to be delivered. We didn’t have the new office numbers until last Thursday, so I spent Thursday and Friday feverishly labeling my boxes and furniture. I am thankful that a psychometrist and another psychologist from the Bismarck office are coming on Wednesday to help me unpack and set up the testing offices.

The move has been a physical challenge for me.  The boxes are heavy. I removed bulletin boards that were screwed to the wall while standing on top of desks.  I had to disassemble a large room divider for one of the testing rooms.  Monday morning I have to go to the new building and remove two unnecessary desk peninsulas that are attached to the walls in the testing rooms so that there is room for the Psychology filing cabinets. The construction company says it isn’t in their contract to do so.  I better not lose my purse, since that is where I stored all the nuts and bolts and filing cabinet keys.

There is no one to blame for this.  Our regional director worked hard to get the movers, furniture delivery, internet installation, and building construction to align with the deadline from the college that owns our old building to be out by July 20.  It is hard to control the outcome with so many different working parts. I am hopeful that by the end of the week things will be back to normal.

What is the biggest project you have been involved with?  Do you plan or follow others’ plans?